It is ‘Fantasy Week’ on Raggie Writes as we escape into the world of the mythical and the fae to escape some of the less magical things that are occurring in the real world at the moment. Earlier this week I put together “100 Questions to Ask Your Fantasy Character” for fellow writers to explore the more magical side of their writing and get to know their characters; today I am sharing with you “150 Questions to Answer When Creating a Fantasy World”!
For those of you are not writers but avid book lovers, take a look at my “Fantasy Week: Favourite Fantasy Books”
Many authors spend huge amounts of time creating and sculpting their world to perfection, providing so many more layers and dimensions to the reader and making the whole concept more believable.
Just like when creating a character profile, world-building can be an incredibly helpful exercise, helping you to discover things about your world which you never knew before. Below are 150 useful questions to consider when creating your fantasy world. You do not have to use them all, simply choose the ones that are the most suitable or get inspired to create your own! Let your creativity run wild here!
- How large is the country/town/world in which the story is set?
- What does the world itself look like? Does it resemble Earth? Is your story located in a mythical town/country on Earth?
- Are there other planets/countries which can be travelled to?
- What are the differences between the different countries and/or planets? Different minerals/ecosystems…
- How are the continents/countries/worlds/lands laid out?
- What is the terrain like across this world? Are there mountains and shorelines, rivers and deserts? How much of the land is temperate, equatorial or polar?
- What are the natural resources? How do they differ between lands/worlds? What resources are scarce?
- Are the laws of nature/physics different to earth? In what way?
- Are there multiple suns or moons?
- Describe the sky during the day, is it blue like our sky or a different colour? Why?
- Describe the night sky. Can you see stars? Are there different planets? Can you see galaxies? Why is it this way?
- What is the climate like?
- What is the weather like? What weather does the world most commonly experience? What are the extreme weather conditions which can occur?
- What are the seasons like? How many/how long?
- What are the birds like?
- What are the animals like?
People, Creatures and Inhabitants
- Are there humans, aliens, hybrids, elves, witches, robots. e.t.c? What are their populations?
- How did they get to be a part of this world?
- How do the inhabitants of the world you are building get along?
- Are there natural alliances between particular groups?
- Are certain species known to be particularly friendly or antagonistic?
- What are the weaknesses and strengths of other creatures and species?
- Did the people/creatures evolve on this planet or come from elsewhere?
- What is the relationship between the different species?
- Where do the different species live? Does everyone live together or do they each have separate locations within lands or even lands unto themselves?
Socialisation and Culture
- What are the various cultures and cultural practices?
- How is death handled – are services held, and do loved ones’ mourn?
- What behaviours are generally considered to be improper or immoral?
- What is the total population (of the planet/country/kingdom/land/town/city, etc.)
- Is there public transport?
- How are gender roles defined?
- Do people celebrate their birthdays?
- Does the culture value strength or compassion more highly?
- Does the culture value wealth or generosity more highly?
- What are the common superstitions?
- What do people wear?
- What sort of clothes do people wear on special occasions?
- What forms of art are there?
- Is there a theatre? Is it common or reserved for the wealthy?
- Are there any domesticated animals/familiars?
- What calendar is used?
- What are the major festivals?
- Describe a wedding.
- Describe a funeral.
Communication, Language and Dialect
- How is the language barrier between lands/worlds solved?
- What are the languages spoken across the planet/lands? Are they different based on geographical location or species?
- Is there a written language? Does it differ between species/regions?
- Are most people literate or illiterate?
- Do most people/creatures speak more than one language?
- How do people greet each other?
- What is considered to be rude?
- What titles/formalities are used?
- What is a gesture of respect (bowing, saluting)?
Relationships and Family
- What is the average family like?
- How do families, marriages, and other relationships operate?
- Do families often consist of different species?
- Do people marry for love or other reasons? What reasons?
- Do people get to choose their own partners?
- Is procreation done out of love or duty?
- Are the genders treated equally?
Work and Education
- Do both people and creatures work?
- Do different species have particular trades?
- What is considered to be a good job?
- What is considered to be a poor job?
- Are there professional guilds/institutes/academys/schools/colleges, e.t.c?
- Is education available to all or only certain groups or species?
- Are different groups of species educated separately?
Buildings and Homes
- What are the cities like, if any?
- What are the houses like?
- What amenities do homes most commonly have?
- Do most people live in rural or urban areas?
- What materials are used to build houses?
- How are homes commonly decorates?
- Does the design differ between geographical location or species?
- Do different species have different diets? What do they entail?
- Is food available from markets and restaurants or is all food cooked at home?
- What are special celebratory foods?
- What does a basic pauper’s meal look like?
- Do people mostly eat meat, fish or vegetables?
- Do people eat together or separately?
- What do people drink? Is alcohol popular?
- Is the water clean enough to drink? Is it available from taps in homes?
- Are some foods poisonous to certain creatures?
- Who holds power of your world/land/country/kingdom, e.t.c? Is it an individual leader, a monarchy or a governing group?
- Is there a form of totalitarianism, authoritarianism, or a democracy?
- Are there different leaders/governing parties for different locations or different leaders for different species?
- What is the political structure of the world?
- How long has the system of government been in place?
- Who have been the major rulers?
- Do people trust the government/leaders?
- Do the majority of people approve of or disapprove of the government?
- Do people live in happiness or fear?
- Is there a form or police or army?
- What are the rules or laws of society?
- How are rule-breakers tried and punished?
- Are criminals common or rare?
- Are the rules of the land/world/kingdom considered fair or are people suppressed?
- Is there a class system defined by wealth or some other factor?
- How big is the gap between rich and poor?
- Is there slavery?
- What is the form of currency? Does this differ between lands/countries/kingdoms?
- Is there widespread trade? Between worlds?
- What are the religions?
- What gods, if any, exist?
- Is religion based upon geographical location or species?
- Do the gods play an active role in the world, or are they simply entities people believe in?
- How much does religion play into the daily life of people?
- What is considered sacred?
- Are particular symbols revered?
- What are some rituals or customs related to religion in your world?
- How many inhabits believe in the religious system?
- Are there any quarrels between different religions?
- Are there any specific festivals or celebrations that occur?
- Do people believe in one God, many or none?
- Is there more than one religion?
- Do people make sacrifices to Gods?
- What are the temples like?
- Does magic exist? Who is able to use magic?
- Where does magic come from?
- Are there some people/creatures who are masters of magic?
- How do creatures/people hone their magic abilities and become stronger?
- What is the general attitude towards magic, are people accepting of it or do they protest its use?
- What are the limitations and rules of magic?
- What happens when these rules are broken?
- Are there any magical creatures? Describe them.
- To what extent is magic a learned skill or an innate talent?
- Is magic a specialist, elite skill or is it used easily by commoners?
- What is the price/cost of using magic?
- Do magicians need to meet any specific criteria? Be celibate? Go through a ritual?
- Does magic require tools and props?
- How is one magician stronger than another?
- Can magic be combined to increase its strength?
- What defeats magic?
- Is magic admired/respected/feared?
- Is any magic illegal?
- What is magic generally used for?
- How did the creatures and settlements begin to populate the lands?
- Is there a recent historical event which made a significant impact?
- What have been the major environmental disasters? Famine, volcanoes, flooding? How have these impacted your world/kingdom/land?
- Where and when did civilization begin?
War and Conflict
- What lands/worlds/species have been at war with each other in the past? Are any still at war?
- Have there been any civil wars?
- Is there widespread conflict?
- How long ago was the most recent war? Why did it begin?
- What are the main reasons for conflicts?
- What is the system of travel between worlds/lands/cities?
- What level of technological development is the world in (stone age, hi-tech)?
- What technologies are used to communicate?
- Is there such a thing as social media?
- How accessible are technological items to the general populace?
- What are some up-and-coming technologies?
- What technologies cause the most issues in your culture’s society?
- Which technologies are the most helpful?
- Is there artificial intelligence?
If you managed to answer all 150 questions, you know your world like the back of your hand! Good luck with your next bestseller!